By Ayako Kano (auth.)
Weaving jointly cautious readings of performs and reports, memoirs and interviews, biographies and important essays, appearing Like a girl in glossy Japan lines the emergence of the 1st new release of recent actresses in Japan, a country during which male actors had lengthy ruled the general public level. What emerges is a colourful and complicated photograph of contemporary jap gender, theater, and nationhood. utilizing the lives and careers of 2 dominant actresses from the Meiji period, Kano finds the fantasies, fears, and effect that ladies on degree created in Japan because it entered the 20 th century.
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Extra info for Acting Like a Woman in Modern Japan: Theater, Gender, and Nationalism
In other words, by positing heterosexuality as the norm, the division between male and female became absolute, and by positing the natural division and complementarity between male and female, heterosexuality became normalized. Thus it became "self-evident" that a woman is a woman, that one cannot act like a woman unless one is a woman, and that even if one does act like a woman, one cannot really be a woman unless one really is a woman. MODERN FORMATIONS OF GENDER AND PERFORMANCE 31 In this way, the performative dimension was purged from the definition of gender.
Instead of focusing on the incorrigible body, however, Mayama looks at what surrounds it. He blames the architectural features of the Japanese stage, with its lateral beams, its great width, and its relatively low ceiling, which trick the audience into always measuring the performer's height against the stage dimensions, and thereby accentuate the shortness of the actress. The solution is to build a different kind of theater with a stage that is tall and not too wide and that is also small enough to benefit from women's softer voices.
By contrast, medical and scientific discourse during the Meiji period emphasized the physical basis for the difference between men and women. In 1875 (Meiji 8), the first translation of a European scientific text on sexual difference was published, and the next two decades saw the publication of over a hundred texts on sexology, including translations, adaptations, academic treatises, and popular guidebooks. 43 Many of these books would start with a description of male and female sexual organs, move on to discuss sexual desire, and the mechanism of conception and childbirth, and would often include an injunction against masturbation.
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